Do we all like pain and angst? Is that why we like frostiron? Probably…
It would make sense to think that, because Tony is flawed and Loki, even more. They’ve both killed a fair amount of people and they’ve both pretended (and lied and faked) in front of the masses. They are hypocrites and jerks at times. It seems like they’re too messed up to fix each other.
But I’m a sucker for a happy ending. And I think it’s completely possible for these two to go through the character development necessary to have one. Below, I attempt to articulate my reasons for believing that.
Besides, there’s something comforting about the thought that even someone with many flaws can fall in love.
So, once upon a time I read a fic on AO3 in which Loki won his bid of the Earth and - here’s the catch - was a benevolent and kind leader to everyone and just wanted to stand against Thanos (I think) and shit. Also, Tony was all peachy with this situation from the get go and is friendly with…
I now get why everyone wants to pair up people from other fandoms into jaegers.
Because imagine Sam Wilson piloting his jaeger painfully back alone after losing Riley.
And he’s counseling other veterans, and he’s not going back, but — Captain America needs his help. Is there any better reason to get back in the game?
It turns out he and Steve are drift compatible, and their jaeger is adapted so Steve can use both arms while Sam uses both wings. And instead of a sword, they have a shield, rocket propelled and capable of flying itself back to them.
Natasha brings nothing to the drift. She’s piloted with Clint, once, in an emergency, and afterward he brought her into SHIELD. Even he felt distant from her mind, because there are things she never wants anyone to know. Posting her secrets to the world, at the end of the movie, is more intimate even than drifting with a stranger, because she is so good at holding things back.
Bucky has to pilot from the right, because his arm doesn’t sync quite right with a jaeger. (Maybe in a sequel, Steve and Bucky will have to drift together, to pilot a very old style of jaeger. And they were compatible in the last war, but neither of them knows if they’ll still be able to fight together. And Bucky is in the worst danger of chasing the rabbit, because even he doesn’t know what his memories hold, and Steve tries not to secretly hope that after seeing Steve’s memories, Bucky will come back for real.)
Oh, no, I just realized — I bet Fury and Pierce used to pilot together. That’s why it never even occurs to Fury to suspect him. But Fury loses his eye and gets out of piloting, and it’s been a long time since they drifted together. And so it’s a betrayal of the highest order — and even more frightening because Fury knows how similar they really were.
Tony and Rhodey pilot together, but part of Tony’s new tech is a jaeger that can be piloted solo, keyed so that only he or Rhodey can use it. When things get rough, though, Iron Patriot is the jaeger that War Machine and Iron Man pilot together, and they’ve defeated some of the worst kaiju as a team, with Pepper calling the shots back at base. When, in IM3, Tony gets rid of his arc reactor, he’s also giving up the possibility of ever piloting alone again.
No one has ever drifted with Bruce. The Hulk is practically a jaeger on its own, after all. But everyone knows that’s not exactly why.
Presumably Thor and Loki used to fight together, and now neither of them can pilot a jaeger, because they aren’t compatible with any humans on this world. As much as everyone in Asgard loves him, Thor still knows that he looks like one half of a whole without Loki.
Jane is one of the top researchers around the kaiju threat. She and Darcy are drift compatible, but they prefer to be back at base, calculating and directing. When Thor takes Jane with him to Asgard, no one there can quite believe that she understands the kaiju at least as well as they do, even though she’s just a human. Thor hovers behind her, smiling proudly, as she argues the mathematics of kaiju invasion with Asgard’s best.
But I just keep coming back to Sam Wilson, his partner — one of his wings — torn from him, coming back to pilot an old-fashioned jaeger with single-pilot wings and single-pilot arms, because Captain America needs his help.
Some days he remembers he’s a liar, others he remembers he’s a god.
Loki tells the truth when no one’s paying attention, weaving it in and out between the falsehoods. No one notices, one noticed, they talk over him, he listens to him, they speak of redemption, he doesn’t.
Anthony doesn’t. ____________
Some days he forgets he’s a hero, others he forgets he can die.
Tony talks and talks and talks, and somewhere in all the mess of words, he actually says something. They’ve stopped listening to him, he listened, they say his name like it’s the definition of disappointment, he says it like a prayer, they want him to change, he doesn’t.
it doesn’t matter how many “pretend to be dating” fics i read, i’m always fucking in it headfirst every time and i fall for that shit every time. i know the pattern i know the plot twists i know what’s gonna happen but every single fucking time i’m fucking on the edge of my seat wide-eyed whispering like “what’s gonna happen are they gonna fall in love” to myself like of course they are you fucking idiot this happens EVERY TIME but as soon as i see the description and it’s like “x person and x person pretend to do the dating” it’s eternal sunshine of the stupidest fucking mind over here
I’ve been thinking a lot about why Tony/Rhodey isn’t popular with fandom. To those of us who ship it, it seems like the most obvious pairing of all time, but obviously not everyone agrees.
Now, I’m not going to beat around the bush—I think about 50% of the reason is racism. Pairing featuring black men have historically not done as well as white dude/white dude pairing; it’s difficult to ignore the patterns at this point. But honestly, I don’t think Tony/Rhodey would be terribly popular even if Rhodey were white.
I’m assuming this based largely on the sudden popularity of Steve/Bucky post-CA2. Now, as someone who’s been a Steve/Bucky shipper since Livejournal was in its heyday, I’m totally delighted by this, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it happened now. When the pairing got really angsty.
That’s the problem with Tony/Rhodey: it’s not angsty. At all. It’s literally the opposite of angsty.
Now, I’m not anti-angst. (The fic I’m writing at the moment is about 90% angst, no joke.) But it’s a weirdly good predictor of how popular a pairing will be with fandom, and I just can’t figure out why.
This is definitely the factor that makes the most sense to me. I’ve seen lots of the same kind of speculation around ships like Thor/Jane, people asking why no one writes about Jane, don’t they like her? Are we all slightly misogynistic? And I love Jane, Jane is great. She’s smart and independent. But her life is whole as it is. It doesn’t need to be fixed.
People with fundamental flaws are so interesting to write about, because you can introduce various factors and then ask the question, what would go wrong? There are so many possibilities. But with stable, grounded personalities like Jane’s and Rhodey’s, the answer to that question tends to be less interesting.
I love to put Thor/Jane in the background of my other fics, but I don’t tend to come up with ideas for them that would carry a central plot. The same is true with Rhodey and any ships I might put him in. He’s sensible enough that he’s able to sidestep a lot of the drama that would make a story centered on him compelling.
With Tony in the mix, you add a lot of unpredictability, but he also makes himself the center of the story, and there’s also a certain extent to which their relationship seems to have settled - Tony himself never will be, but Rhodey’s adjusted to that fact, and seems pretty determined not to get dragged into that mess on an emotional level. Rhodey knows who he is, what his priorities are, and in my series on his and Tony’s friendship, I explore what that has to do with his background, both as a black child in Philadelphia and as a well-respected military officer.
This is one of the reasons why, when I do ship Rhodey with someone, I like it to be a new presence in his life, so that tension can be created while Rhodey is still figuring out who this new person is and what they want from each other. I have this weird little fixation on the idea of a Rhodey/Darcy relationship in which there is an immediate attraction and they fall into bed but then Rhodey agonizes over whether he’s taking advantage of this young innocent girl who he doesn’t actually want to have a relationship with. Tension continues until he actually does talk to her about it, upon which he discovers that she’s actually shamelessly taking advantage of him and she hopes he’ll continue to do the same to her as long as they’re both enjoying it. They then linger near the top of each other’s booty call lists for a while. (This dynamic appears briefly in the background of my main frostiron series.)
It’s hard for me to see Rhodey in an actual relationship with any of the Marvel characters, because they are so full of emotional drama, and while Rhodey appreciates action and danger, I don’t see emotional drama as being on his list of things he’ll actively seek out. That said, there is a wonderful Rhodey/Bruce fic that I absolutely adore, The Opposite of Trouble, which works an interesting angle - Rhodey only wades into the situation because he perceives the Hulk as being a physical threat to Tony, and by the time his experience has proved that fear unfounded, Rhodey is unwittingly attached.
So, it can be done, but it’s difficult, and for myself, I’ve found that if I’m going to put out the effort to write something difficult for the sake of a political message or a representational balance, I want it to be something I can legally sell. So my original work is where I make that push to put POC and other oppressed people front and center, and when I write fic, it’s usually to resolve the tension that seems inherent in the source material.
Why is a tiny purple archer and his giant green boyfriend the best thing ever?
This sounds like a challenge and I shall take it as such.
A tiny purple archer and his giant green boyfriend is the very best and most important thing ever because, one, giant green boyfriend is also a tiny precious scientist with a penchant for weed and has freckles and curly brown hair and big doe eyes and the tiny purple archer is also a hic from Iowa who can’t tie his sweatpants without reciting a kids poem and drinks coffee by the barrel every morning, and mixing those two together is like adding syrup on a grilled cheese sandwich; you question it at first, wonder if the sweetness will over power the cheesy-ness, and then you shrug, dive in, and have the time of your life, because they offset eachother perfectly.
That, my dear anon, is why they are the very best thing; they work in the very best way, and I will go down with this ship, understand?
Story summary: Eighteen years ago, Tony fell in love with a mysterious woman, all green eyes and wit. Now he’s given up all hope of finding her again, but with curiosity and a well-placed spider, fate has different ideas.